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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Nightmare of picking up hank

First and foremost, I have to give a HUGE thank you shout out to Cathy and Steve Carpenter.  Without them, I NEVER would have survived this ordeal.

Summary: Hank was in his cage for 14 hours.  He was dropped off in Atlanta @ 6am, I saw him for the first time @ 8:45Atlanta time.  We spent 5 ½ hours walking and waiting from office to office. We needed to get 5 forms and 1 stamp. It cost $509 from Delta and another $175 once in Guatemala.  He is alive and seems to be ok. 

OIG – Only in Guatemala.  I heard this phrase first when reading Kelli Horner’s account of getting her daughters passport.  It applies to my ordeal with Hank as well.

Amy dropped hank off @ 6am in Atlanta.  She was told she should have frozen water in the water dish.  This is a great idea and yet during the 5 phone conversations that I had with Delta, never once did they suggest this.  Amy was told that he would have water though.  I assume he did in Atlanta but I honestly don’t think he did in Guatemala.

Fast forward to 11:45 Guatemalan time (1:45 ATL). I had picked up Steve and Cathy.  Steve drives and tells me that my car is in 4 wheel drive which is why I’m having issues.  He fixes it.  The 3 of us went to the baggage claim at the airport, where I was told to pick him up.  After Cathy spoke to 3 different people, we learned that Hank had to be picked up at the cargo place in another building.  They said it would be at least and hour and a half. 

So, we went to Chili’s for lunch! Definitely the a highlight of the day!

It is now 1:30 in GUA (3:30 ATL).  We arrive at the cargo place.  Steve elects to just stay with the car while Cathy and I go inside.

Enter through a metal detector and purse check. Enter through another metal detector and purse check and this time, surrender your license in exchange for a visitor’s pass.  We go to office #1.  The Delta office.  Pay about $15 for paper work.  Get directions to another office.  Exit through a metal detector and purse check.  Office #2 needs a copy of something so we then go to office #3.  Pay for copy and return to office #2.  Get the stamp we need.

Go back through metal detector and purse check to office #1.  Get directions to another office, which we have a hard time finding but it is actually the office we made copies in, #3.  It is now raining and will continue to rain for at least 2 hours.

Once we finally find it, the lady types in a number and says the flight doesn’t exist.  Once she clarifies, apparently Hank has not been scanned into the system as having arrived yet.  By now it is 3pm.  The plane landed 3 ½ hours ago.  Hank has been in the cage for 11 hours.  I’m so frustrated and I’m starting to cry.  The lady was helpful and kept calling until someone answered and within 30 minutes, we got the form we needed from her.  She sent us to another building, #4. Enter through a metal detector and purse check.

This turned out to be the wrong building, as there are 2 SAT offices.  So, back through 2 metal detectors and purse checks.  At this point, they stop checking our purses since we have seen them about 7+ times already.

We arrive at the correct SAT office (#6) @ about 3:30.  We stand in line.  There is an issue because I don’t have my passport.  I had to give it to the school’s lawyer to complete my car buying paper work.  I have a copy but I didn’t copy the page where I got the stamp to record my date of entry.  I didn’t know I was suppose to do that.  So, around 3:55, the guy says that he can’t help us, a guy that comes in @ 4 can.  So, we wait outside.  The new guy comes in and we expect for him to call our name but never does.  There are now 5 people in line.  We get back in line.  By 4:30, we get some help.  He says that he is going to get Hank.  We wait about 40 minutes.  No Hank.  The guy comes back and says we have to pay more money.  About $145.  So, we get the form.  Exit through a metal detector and purse check.

A man in the parking lot tells us that the 2 places that accept payment here are closed.  We spent from 3:30-5:15 in office #6.  So, we have to go to the airport, where the passengers fly, to pay the invoice. .  Exit through a metal detector and purse check.

Get in the car, go to the airport.  Steve has been sitting in the car for almost 4 hours now.  I’m in tears again.  Hank has now been in the cage almost 13 hours. We go into the airport.  Find one bank but it’s the wrong one.  Have to go down 2 floors and find the right one.  But, neither of my credit cards will go through.  Cathy, who by the way is doing all the talking, pays for me.  We cannot go back up inside the airport so we walk outside and go up the stairs in the parking deck and find Steve.

Once we return, we go through 2 metal detectors and purse checks. Back to office #6.  They say he is not picked up there, we have to go somewhere else. .  Exit through a metal detector and purse check. We got our licenses back, as we thought we were done.  (We were wrong)

Head to another metal detector but since they have no purse check person, you can’t take purses in.  So, Cathy just went, since I’m totally useless at this point anyway. 

She walks into one office #7, and was sent to another, #8.  She comes back out and says that we need more money.  But you can’t take your purse in so I give her her cash.  She pays another $15 or so.  Then she comes out with another guy but no Hank.  We have to go back to office #6.  But this guy needs to go there as well so we go with him.  We have to now redo the paperwork and surrender our licenses yet again. 

From here on, we have 4 more trips through the metal detectors. 

And Cathy wants to know if this dog is really worth all this.  I’m just scared he isn’t alive anymore. ( I know he is as he will not die in 14 hours but I’m furious and not thinking straight) It’s now about 6pm (8pm ATL).  Hank’s been in the cage 14 hours now.

Back at office #6, we turn in some paper work and are told to wait.  Around 6:45, I see 2 guys carrying his cage.  I’m so relieved.  His water dish is bone dry.  I go get 2 cups of water and pour in there; he drinks it all immediately.  We have to do some more paper work but they said that I could get him out.  But no one has scissors or a knife to cut the plastic ties.  Finally a guy just pulls it.  I get Hank out and let him walk around a little bit. 

We finish there and Cathy and I are carrying the cage and Hank is walking on the leash.  He is drinking water from every puddle made by the rain.  We get out to the car and Steve walks Hank while Cathy and I return to retrieve our driver’s licenses. 

In the car, Hank just lays in the back seat.  We dropped Cathy and Steve off and we went home.  Its now close to 8pm (10pm ATL) He drank a ton of water and ate dinner and explored.  His cage needed to be cleaned out of course. 

Overall, he is here and is safe but I had no idea it was this hard or this expensive.  This may be his one and only international trip.
                                                          Hank is now a Cat!

 9 stickers were not enough.  They had to hand write one

                                                    Smiling now that he is out of the cage!


  1. As a side note- I've never experienced anything like this anywhere else. We've never shipped the dogs though, so that might be difference. But really, OIG.

  2. Wow, that sounds rough. Keep your chin up! You were a good dog mommy!

  3. OMG! I'm completely at a loss for words. I'm so sorry it was so crazy!

  4. Another teacher is having the same issue so at least its not just me.